BJP challenges PM on surplus grain issue

Written by Political Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Sep 8 2010, 04:46am hrs
The BJP came down forcefully on Prime Minister Manmohan Singhs statement that the courts should not get into policy formation, referring to the recent Supreme Court order that surplus grains be distributed to the poor. The Prime Minister had reportedly made this statement during a breakfast meeting with editors of major Indian newspapers.

Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj flayed the Prime Ministers statement that Thirtyseven per cent of the population is below the poverty line, how can we distribute to everyone

The Prime Minister would do well to follow the example set by the Chhattisgarh government where on the 7th of every month 35 kg of grain is distributed at Rs 2 per kg under the supervision of MLAs, councillors and panchayat representatives, she said. If the Centre is bereft of ideas on this, they can ask us, she said.

BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the SC had directed the Centre on the basis of Article 21 of the Constitution, which spoke of the right to life. In this interpretation, the SC is well within its rights to give the order and pronounce judgement on policy, he said.

On the Prime Ministers statement that the current UPA Cabinet showed more cohesiveness than the first Cabinet headed by Jawaharlal Nehru, Prasad pronounced himself astounded. I am astounded, if at all the Prime Minister has compared the current Cabinet to the first Cabinet, he said.

The differences of opinion in the Cabinet have now reached epic proportions, and while we have no jurisdiction on who the PM can include or exclude from his Cabinet, we hope that it will at least present a united face, he said.